The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » MBA News » Real Humans of MBA Students » Real Humans of the UMD Smith MBA Class of 2024 » Page 4

Real Humans of the UMD Smith MBA Class of 2024

Image for Real Humans of the UMD Smith MBA Class of 2024

Tydearian Cocroft, UMD Smith MBA Class of 2024

Age: 28
Hometown: Bradenton, Florida
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Central Florida, Marketing
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Communications/Marketing, Programming, Most recently Privacy, and Information Security

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
As a first-generation college student and the only person in my family to obtain a post-secondary degree I always knew the more I pursued education the more returns that would be provided. When I began my MBA search, a few graduate schools required 2 years of post-undergraduate work experience as a prerequisite. So not only did I need time to meet this requirement but to ensure I was prepared for the level of work it would require successfully complete my MBA program. In addition, while working in certain industries, I observed leaders in the companies I worked for and they all had one thing in common in regard to the roles that piqued my interest, an MBA. It just made sense for my career path and I’m thankful that I was put in a position to see its value.

Why did you choose UMD Smith? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Upon graduation from the University of Central Florida (UCF) I moved to DC and attended my first football game as an alum, and it was against the University of Maryland. I immediately fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere of the College Park area. As I prepared to take my GRE, I went to a view MBA open house, had a few coffee chats and none stood out to me the way UMD Smith did. The program was also extremely attractive due to the nature of my work at the time of submitting applications. As a privacy analyst, I wanted to focus on the data aspect especially with the increased technological dependency due to the pandemic. I knew that understanding data and creating complex artifacts that interpreted data was going to be important for my career advancement. Long behold, UMD Smith focused on preparing its MBA students to be able to make data-driven decisions as a business professional. I also knew that my unique black experience and being around a diverse and inclusive community was going to be important and UMD Smith is definitely that.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I think everyone in the Smith Class of 2024 brings a unique perspective and no one’s experience is greater or less than any others. That being said, I also believe everyone’s perspective contributes to the make-up of a diverse student body and allows us to understand real-world interactions for our careers. When it comes to what I contribute, due to my upbringing and experiences, establishing and building community has always been a fundamental part of my being. I’ve been in situations where I felt like an outsider so I always want to make others feel welcome as well. My drive to build community even in small ways such as being the first to ask a question or willing to be the first to sign-up and participate in an activity. These moments were about being willing to take risks for those who may have been uncomfortable with speaking up or who get anxiety (even like myself) from feeling you’re being put on the spot.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
A fun fact about myself that wasn’t included is that one time in the fourth grade, I injured myself in an accident and had to perform in a talent show the next day. I performed in the talent show and no one could notice I was injured, and we won! This has always secretly been a source of inspiration for myself that no matter how hard things to keep going until you get exactly what you want and have worked so hard for, but also rest and get better.

Post-MBA career interests:
My post-MBA career interests in the short term are to:

  • Obtain a role as a Manager/Director in some capacity hopefully in the realm of Data Privacy, Operations, Risk Management 
  • Transition to a Senior Level Manager role
  • Become a Certified Information Privacy Manager

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
One thing I would absolutely do again as a part of my application process is actually apply. So many times I almost did not submit my application due to my fear of not being able to have the stamina to complete the program but now I’m all in and loving it.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
One thing I would do differently is engage more with the Admissions Office and any opportunities to consult with faculty and staff. Knowing the ins and outs of different offices and capacities ahead of time would have definitely helped me have a better start at the beginning of the Term.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
One thing I would have skipped if I could was the GRE, I absolutely have a disdain for standardized testing due to the nuance when it comes to how individuals learn. What helped me get through it was actually the nature of my work required quite a bit of research and understanding of complex concepts. The strategies I learned to break down information assisted with my comprehension of the material.

What is your initial impression of the Smith students/culture/community?
My initial impression of the Smith community is that everyone wants to see you succeed. I know with the current climate that it almost seems like there’s more division than community. UMD Smith has debunked that notion from all of the second years, faculty and staff being so open and reaching out to support the first years. Every conversation and engagement I’ve had thus far has involved someone offering assistance, support and guidance in any way possible.

What is one thing you have learned about Smith that has surprised you?
One thing I’ve learned that surprised me is the curriculum. The two terms a semester was something I had to wrap my around but once I was aware of how the classes and coursework would function it definitely helped with determining study patterns.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
One thing I’m most anxious about is networking. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of time was spent in solitude and as someone who was pre-pandemic was extremely active, the idea of going back to that had me taken aback. I think the moment during lockdown really made me analyze how much time we actually allocate to things other than self and it definitely isn’t something I’m ready to fully give up. This has also affected social skills and has reminded us that a lot of our pre-pandemic ideals were maybe not as natural as we thought and definitely take practice.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m most excited about the opportunity to continue to create another career pathway simply put. The first year is my chance to set the stage for my post-MBA opportunities and connections. I’ve always seen myself as a person with a lot of drive and at 28, I know there are so many positions that I can put myself in that I hope to be able to do for others.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.